Oscar Donaldson went to this Burlington school. But which school is it?
Oscar Donaldson (b. 12-12-1866) whose parents were Martin (Constan Fabien)(1832-1881) and Louisa Wilhelmina Oelschlaeger Donaldson (1848-1932). Martin and Louisa moved from Brownsville, MN to Burlington, IA in the early 1870's with their three children: Oscar F., Emma Louise, Rosalia (Rose Hattie). Later William Henry was born (1876) and Clarence Charles (1880). Meg Wilkins is seeking infor about Oscar's wife and children in the Iowa /Wisc. area and other relatives of the above named.

Early Schools in Des Moines Co.
By T. S. Parvin
Condensed from Annals of Iowa, Volume 3, No. 1, January 1884
Submitted by Constance Diamond

At the semi-centennial celebration of the first settlement of Iowa, held at Burlington in May last (1883), Dr. Wm. F. Ross, now of Lovillia, Monroe county, was one of the speakers. Dr. Ross came to Iowa in July, 1833, and located at Flint Hills, now Burlington. He was, as we learn from his address, appointed the first postmaster in southern Iowa, if not for all Iowa in the spring of 1834. The Territorial government of Michigan, we have seen, was extended, by act of Congress, over the Iowa District, that part of Wisconsin west of the Mississippi river, on the 18th day of June of this year (1834).
The Doctor informs us that in the fall of 1833 he had two cabins built on his claim west of the Park (in which the celebration was held), one being for a school house, and one of which he occupied in March, 1834. In that year (1834) he "boarded Zadoc C. Inghram who taught a school in the log cabin on his (the Doctor's) claim,the first school in Iowa," the Doctor said with emphasis, and he was supposed to know, but we shall see that he was mistaken." As the month of 1834 is not named by Mr. Langworthy, in which Mr. Whittemore taught his school, in Dubuque, in the old log church, we are unable to decide between these two persons and places, as to which the priority should be given. With Mr. Inghram we were personally acquainted in 1838. Subsequently he removed to Louisa county and was appointed Clerk of the Court there, by Chief Justice Mason, of the Territorial Court. Mr. Inghram was living quite recently in St. Louis. Besides Mr. Inghram there were several teachers prior to November, 1838. From Mr. Wm. Garrett, a prominent citizen of Burlington, an old settler, having located there early in 1836, and well known over the State as the Secretary for more than a quarter of a century of the Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows, we learn that Mr. Ben Tucker was the second teacher who taught a common school in Burlington. He taught in 1830, in a cabin built by  Jeremiah Smith, up a ravine called "Stony Lonesome." Tucker was succeeded by Johnson Pierson; as he lived so far away he found it inconvenient to continue his vocation. At a later period in the succeeding year, 1836, Mr. Tucker resumed his labors in the same cabin. I had the pleasure of meeting the widow of Jeremiah Smith at the celebration before referred to, in May last, and received from her a corroboration of these facts, as also some others. Mrs. Cezum taught a school in 1836, in a cabin on lower Main St., and Mr. Garrett, then a boy, attended her school, before he went into the store of Webber & Remey as a store boy, and where we first met him in the summer of 1838. In 1837 a Miss Wheeler taught school, also in a log cabin, on 5th St. This house had a puncheon floor and puncheon seats. Early in 1838 Mr. Southgate taught in a log cabin on North 7th St., near the spring. And in the same year a Mr. Pike also taught school in a log cabin on Main St. Mrs. Sheldon also taught school that year over Chas. Neally's store on Court St. The Rev. Mr. Batcheldor taking that room for church (Episcopal) services, Mrs. Sheldon removed to the brick house that Judge Rorer built on corner of Columbia and Fourth Sts. the first brick house built in Iowa, remarks Mr. Garrett, correctly. So the schools, so far, at least, as the buildings were concerned, had so advanced tendency. In this building my old friend Judge Rorer laid the first brick, and when in later years, the growth of the city required the erection of a larger and finer building in its place, and it became necessary to take it down, the Judge was on hand to remove that brick last from its place, and carried to his office, where he keeps it as a relic of by- gone times. 1838 was a prolific year for school teachers to engage in their chosen work, for we are informed that the Rev. Chas. Burnham taught a school on 5th St., west of the Square. A young lady, whose name we do not remember, also taught a school of small children in the summer of that year, and we recollect of having escorted her home from school one afternoon, and prior to November, 1838.
A Sunday-school was organized in August, 1836, by Rev. Dr. Teas (Methodist) and Messrs. Brown and Cottle, which, with varying fortunes and interest, was continued, and became the nucleus from which larger ones sprang.
Following the numerous schools, between the spring of 1834 and the fall of 1838, we come to the last for Des Moines county. From an autobiographical sketch of James Rush Hartsock, published in Iowa City, in 1882, we learn from the head-lines he gives, that he was the "First Teacher of the First School in Iowa." In the same sketch he states that "he came to Burlington, Iowa, only the 5th day of May, 1838," and "here." (Burlington) he says, "on the first Monday [fifth day] in November, 1838, was opened the first common school in Iowa, and it was successfully conducted for the term of three months." "His landlady, the 'Widow Jones,' who had several children 'running wild' as she expressed it, 'because there was no school in the town,' first turned the thoughts of Mr. Hartsock to the subject of public education. At that time (he states) the town had a population of not exceeding three hundred. There was no school house, and the number of children to be taught was small. In the latter part of October he secured a school house, a part of the remains of a wrecked steamer, which had been fashioned into a lumberman's office, on the corner of 2d and Jefferson Sts. Having secured this as a school house. it was fitted up with wooden benches or seats and rough boards fastened to the wall as writing desks. One chair and a small stove comprised the furniture. A paper was circulated and twenty-one pupils obtained. The tuition was $4.00 for a term of three months."
How strangely the appliances for teaching had retrograded, while the town was rapidly growing in population and the demand for schools. This whole story looks quite as far-fetched as the date, November, 1838, when half a dozen schools had been taught that year, and for several years before, according to Dr. Ross, Mrs. Jeremiah Smith, Gen. Dodge, Mr. Garrett, Mr. Brown, and others, who have furnished us with data of those early times.
 1834. Zadoc C. Inghram.
 1834. Benj. Tucker.
 1834. Johnson Pierson.
 1835. Johnson Pierson, again.
 1836. Benj. Tucker, again.
 1837. Miss Wheeler.
 1838. Mr. Southgate.
 1838. Mr. Pike.
 1838. Mrs. Sheldon.
 1838. Rev. Chas. Burnham
 1838. (in November) James R. Hartsock.


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